IAN Baraclough has set the bar high for his Motherwell players as they approach the new Premiership season, despite being forced to retain their top-flight status last term in the nerve-jangling play-off.
They may have been resounding 6-1 winners over Rangers in that two-leg showpiece, but their form in the season overall was patchy at best, poor in general.
Baraclough, however, believes the signings he made in January coupled with the business he has done this summer makes Motherwell a far better proposition. The Fir Park manager said: “We want to use the momentum from the play-off games against Rangers.
“The fans went away happy in the end but not with the way the season panned out.
“You can ride a certain wave into this season and the way the campaign finished was as good as anything we could have hoped for on the back of two good performances.
“We have kept most of the squad together and the players have come back with a spring in their step.
“They have had a good few weeks off, can’t wait to get back in, and we will be looking to use the play-offs as a springboard and platform to get a good start to the season.
“We need to improve on last year – the club as a whole. We were all disappointed in how it went.
“Everyone wants to be in the shake-up at the end of the season but what we have to do is make sure we are not where we ended up last year.
“We’ll be taking the cups seriously as well, as the club has been bereft of success in recent years. The fans want us to do that and the fans always look back to 1991 and rightly so. They want us to repeat that and we realise that a cup is our best bet of silverware.
“I won’t come out with a bread-and-butter statement but we do feel that the league is what we have to look at doing better than we did last season.”
Baraclough is still a couple of players short ahead of Saturday’s league opener at Inverness and definitely needs competition for goalkeeper Dan Twardzik.
Baraclough, who missed out to Ross County on Jackson Irvine, said: “We are looking to bolster the midfield and we need a ’keeper.”